BSkyB, the UK satellite television venture, is close to taking a £600 million 24 per cent stake in KirchPayTV, the German subscription television service.
For BSkyB the stake in Premiere World, Kirch's digital television platform, would be its first major international investment.
BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch has a 40 per cent stake, has been looking to break into the German market for some time.
BSkyB also yesterday announced its first equity investment in an e-commerce venture. It will acquire five per cent of Toyzone.co.uk, the UK online toy retailer. Under the deal, Toyzone has sponsorship rights to PokÈmon, Sky One's animated series, and to related programming.
John Swingewood, director of new media at BSkyB said: "We are investing in a business that has the foresight to recognise the e-commerce opportunities that can come from a partnership with a television company."